Review: 'The Lego Movie' Builds to Oscar Status

(Photo credit: Warner Bros. Pictures/AP Photo)

"The Lego Movie" will likely be one of the most surprising movies of the year. Of course, it's only February, so it's rare to get a film with Oscar potential this early.

Relax. I'm not talking best picture here, but Warner Bros isn't going to need to build a Lego Dolby Theater with Lego Oscars and pretend to have a Lego Academy Awards to be recognized. This film is probably going to grab an Academy Award nomination for best animated picture - that's how good it is.

"Parks and Recreation" star Chris Pratt, who's slowly transitioning from TV star to movie star, is the voice of Emmet Brickowski, a very average, kind of boring, unoriginal citizen of this Lego world. He's conformist, following his instruction booklet, which tells him how to go about his daily routine. Like all the other conforming Lego citizens, he goes around singing the most popular song - and apparently, the only song - everybody listens to, which is titled "Everything Is Awesome." It's sung in the streets, it's sung at work, it's sung for hours at a time.

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On the flip side, there exist Master Builders, free-thinkers unshackled from the rules and instruction booklets that keep the citizens under the stealthy totalitarian rule of President Business, voiced by Will Ferrell. President Business has an evil plan to destroy the world with a weapon called the Kragle, and the only one who can stop him is The Special: the greatest Master Builder to ever live. How do we know this? It's the prophecy as seen by Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman), a character who's a mix of Morpheus and the Oracle from The Matrix.

Spoiler Alert: guess who turns out to be The Special?

Emmet, of course. Will he be able to stop President Business? With the help of Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) and Vitruvius, he just might!

The very idea of a Lego movie was to me perplexing and a bit annoying, but this particular creative team, headed by directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, 21 Jump Street) have made a hilarious parody of pop culture disguised as a kids' movie, replete with homage after brilliant homage to a plethora of classic sci-fi films and, of course, Lego toys. You'll leave the theater smiling and singing "Everything Is Awesome," because when it comes to The Lego Movie, everything is.

Four-and-a-half out of five stars.